The challenges of Neo-Imperialism

Last year, when I discussed with my partners a possible investment into another ICT project in Malawi, we aimed to offer the opportunity to an African School to run and build up a computer network, consisting of newest hardware, with its own responsibilities and competence. We were curious to see and learn, at what point an African School is capable to do so. Therefore we decided to send ICT equipment with the simple agreement that the project technicians will just have to document and communicate. Further we decided not to send instructors and conductors but to shift the costs into financing the hardware. This would allow the local project technicians to present their skills and proficiency.

Meanwhile 10 months have passed and our office only received very few and scarce information after putting pressure onto the responsible person. Even the Director of the school, who continuously confirmed his commitment, did not feel the necessity informing our office for months.

The roots of colonialism still seem to keep the Malawian culture in its strong hands and projects only are successfully realised imposing and dictating western measures and skills, whereas a Malawian expects his begging culture to be nurtured.

Almost one year has passed, many deadlines and announcements that were set by the IT technicians gone by without notice and result. A day ago I learned that the technicians are finally installing the thin client terminals and are facing the challenges of getting PS2/USB adapters for mice and keyboards. This shows the poor level of competitiveness and exemplifies why the western economies won’t have to fear competition for the next century. The mechanism of western leadership and exploitation is not endangered.

One could say that another development project in Africa has failed and money has been wasted. But to us the gain of learning at what point the Malawian ICT culture is evolving, is priceless!

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